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Google is Microsoft's New Open Source 188

Posted by Zonk
from the fully-armed-and-operational-battle-station dept.
Robert writes "Steve Ballmer told investors recently that Microsoft's biggest challenge is embracing software-as-a-service business models, as embodied by rival Google Inc. Investing in software as a service and advertising-supported businesses is a challenge like that which the company faced at the dawn of the open-source movement. To paraphrase him heavily, the takeaway was: Yes, we're investing a lot, but it's riskier, long-term, not to do so. We have a lot of cool stuff coming up and, yes, we are also playing catch-up on a couple of fronts. His speech came a month after Microsoft revealed that its R&D budget for fiscal 2007, which ends mid-2007, would rise to $6.2bn." From the article: "We've got to make this transition, which our industry is making, from software as a product to software as a service ... If you want to be a leading software company, you've got to be a leading software-as-a-service company."
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Google is Microsoft's New Open Source

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  • by IAmTheDave (746256) <basenamedave-sd@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:04PM (#15445748) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft has real competition, forcing them to develop better, more competitive software. Downside?
    • Downside! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Alien54 (180860) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:11PM (#15445850) Journal
      When I have to rent my word processor and spread sheet program.

      This is vaguely similar to the RIAA, etc wanting us to merely rent music, or repurchase it in a new format every so often, instead of owning it outright.

      Music as a service. Software as a service. What's the difference?

      • Re:Downside! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:19PM (#15445948) Journal
        No real difference and I think both are fine. You want to pay $x per song and own it forever, you can. You want to pay $x per month for unlimited use (but stops when you stop paying), you can. Choice is good.

        That said I personally like the software as a service model less than the music model. At least with the music you are constantly getting new material for the monthly price where software is (more or less) just paying for the exact same thing again and again. But thats just me and even in those cases depending on the monthly cost to "rent" vs the cost to "buy" it could still be a good deal. Anyway, I'm always glad to see more choices even it I don't happen to like one of them. Someone else might really like the other choice for some reason and I'm glad its available to them.
        • Re:Downside! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Twiceblessedman (590621) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:33PM (#15446081)
          The problem will arise when the only choice left is the service model. It's not good for the customers.
          • Re:Downside! (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ThousandStars (556222)
            I'd agree with your comment, but I think open source will obviate the issue. One can pay subscription fees for services or choose open source software one can use forever.
          • Re:Downside! (Score:3, Insightful)

            by retrosteve (77918)
            Perhaps the service model has advantages to the customers too. Since software depreciates almost instantly, you're spending quite a lot for something you're going to toss in 3-4 years max. Why is ownership so great again?

            For example, my $900 copy of Microsoft Office 2000 has pretty much no resale value now. Did I get $150 per year's use out of it?

            Chances are that I only used 2 of the 8 programs, and those I used a lot. But did I use them enough to pay $150 a year for them? Doubt it.
            • Its the other way, actually- software's value never decreases. Half the programs on my computer are 4 or more versions out of date, because I have no need of the upgrades. Why should I pay for upgrades I don't want, and in many cases (I'm looking at you Winamp) is inferior to what I have? On your office example- I own one copy of a word processor, it was Word Perfect from the mid-90s. If it wasn't for open source alternatives, I'd still be using it- it did everything I needed. Why would you ever upg
              • Why would you ever upgrade a word processor?

                To view the documents sent to you from other people who did upgrade? :)

                I think I'd have to agree though, looking on Microsoft's website, I don't see many features that justify upgrading, especially for non-business users. There's some nifty new colaboration features, but I don't think too many people actually use those.

                Pretty much, Microsoft is its own worst enemy. They've implemented just about everything necessary, so its harder and harder for people to justif
        • Re:Downside! (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Bing Tsher E (943915)
          At least with the music you are constantly getting new material for the monthly price where software is (more or less) just paying for the exact same thing again and again.

          Try to think of software-as-a-service similar to the way you think of electricity or water as a service. It's the same exact thing again and again, and you pay for it as you use it.
          • Re:Downside! (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Bill Dog (726542)
            However:
            1) Electricity and water are consumed in using it. The provider then has to make more, whereas with software this is not the case. With software as a service there isn't even costs of packaging, stamping CD's, buying shelf space at CompUSA, etc. IANAEconomist, but this takes a product that has a very high initial cost but then a very small cost per unit sold, and moves it into the realm of even tinier costs per unit sold. Utility companies have relatively high costs per unit sold.

            2) Electricity and
        • "You want to pay $x per song and own it forever, you can. You want to pay $x per month for unlimited use (but stops when you stop paying), you can. Choice is good."

          I'm 100% in favor of people selling what they have to sell on their own terms. And if no one wants to take those terms, they sell nothing or change models. But I get suspicious when people say "let the consumers decide if they want X or Y" and Y is blatantly inferior to X.

          When millions of people seem to be choosing crippled, severely restricti

        • That said I personally like the software as a service model less than the music model. At least with the music you are constantly getting new material for the monthly price where software is (more or less) just paying for the exact same thing again and again.

          It depends on how it works. If paying $x/month gives me access to a suite of applications and new features and applications are constantly added, it'd be similar to the model.

          There's also times I only have a need for a software once (i.e. I have an vide

          • Ahhh! Thats a VERY good point! I hadn't thought of that. Not proud to say it, but I've more than once pirated a program because I only needed it to do a little job and didn't want to pay $$$ for it. I think I'd still like to own and run locally the stuff I use everyday, but your idea I find VERY appealing for those cases where I don't (as long as they don't try the crap the telcos do with a minimum 1 year sign-up, etc).
      • Re:Downside! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by StrawberryFrog (67065) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:51PM (#15446263) Homepage Journal
        When I have to rent my word processor and spread sheet program.

        Software as a service plainly doesn't make sense for word processing or spreadsheets.

        But it does for search [google.com], or buying books [amazon.com], or news [slashot.org].

        The only problem (if you can call it that) is that the users are so not-locked in that it's hard to charge for the service (ok, you can charge for the books, but the users can still go to another online stop at the drop of a hat)
        • Software as a service plainly doesn't make sense for word processing or spreadsheets.

          Actually, I think it does. It's been done for over 30 years, so there's nothing new about it. It's just a minor variation on the time-sharing mainframe and remote application server model. Even in a complete GUI environment, I used to regularly run expensive commercial applications off of remote servers, and interact directly with their windows through the magic of X's network transparency. It works like a charm, it

      • It's only a downside if you stick with companies like MS in those fields of software. We already have alternatives, and we will have alternatives when they come out with new software that isn't around now. Open source software that's actually on your computer isn't going anywhere. I think they may well be successful in a subscription-based service, but in the end it will drive more people to open source alternatives and those alternatives will improve -- possibly at even faster rate with a somehwat larger u
    • by El Cubano (631386) <<moc.rexennoc> <ta> <otrebor>> on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:12PM (#15445860) Homepage

      Microsoft has real competition, forcing them to develop better, more competitive software. Downside?

      The downside for Microsoft is that they are their own worst enemy. People already pay Microsoft for their software (either embedded in the cost of a PC or at the store for things like Office) . Now Microsoft is in the tough position of getting people to transition from paying for software upfront to paying for it as a service without people realizing they are getting the short end of the stick. This will be much easier with things like office and other products you typically buy in the store. For things like windows, it will be hard to convince people that they need to pay monthly to use their PCs after they have already paid up front for the hardware and OS. Of Microsoft makes it too painless, they shoot themselves in the foot by not making as much as they could. If they make it too painful, they stand to lose marketshare, especially if companies like Novell and IBM come out and really pump the idea that you don't have to pay to keep your Linux machines running.

      • I don't see MS turning Windows into a web service. How are you going to access it from your PC, boot into Linux?
        • "I don't see MS turning Windows into a web service. How are you going to access it from your PC, boot into Linux?"

          Where did you get 'web' from?
        • I know you're kidding but I can see them pulling something like this. After a short period of use after purchase (say 3 months) the system boots into a form asking you to pay to continue using Windows. Failure to pay makes the OS inoperable.

          And they'll sell it by telling people all the wonderful things they get by subscribing, like security fixes. Of course they won't call them security fixes, they'll call them "Enhancements" or something.

          A lot of people who are clueless about this sort of thing will imagin
    • Microsoft has real competition,

      From who in what market? MS makes money selling software, Google sells advertising. Everything else either company does is a loss leader/R&D project.

    • by kfg (145172) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:32PM (#15446074)
      Downside?

      The competition is an illusion.

      Google exists in an entirely different sphere of influence than Microsoft. Microsoft is not protecting its base against competition so much as it is doing what it has always done:

      Found out that someone else is making money and trying to muscle in on it.

      Microsoft is in the software business. Google is not in the software as service business. They are in the advertising business, just as a billboard company is not in the real estate business, even though they must interact with the real estate market in order to sell their advertising product.

      And the only people demanding "software as a service" are the advertising buyers/sellers.

      KFG
      • Microsoft is in the software business.
        They are also in advertising bussiness [msn.com] as well. Same way as Google is in.
      • "Google is not in the software as service business. They are in the advertising business, just as a billboard company is not in the real estate business, even though they must interact with the real estate market in order to sell their advertising product."

        I disagree. Google is in the software business, they just finance it through advertising. They employ more programmers and developers than advertisers and marketers, and produce far more data than they do ads. They must interact with the advertising mark
        • Google is in the software business, they just finance it through advertising . . .

          This is the fundamental conceptual mistake of business.

          . . .they are in the advertising business because they finance their operation by ads rather than charging their consumers directly.

          A business is defined by what provides it with profit. The source of the profit is the "consumer."

          The source of Google's profit is advertising. The advertisers are the "consumer" of Google's product. You, as a user of Google's services are the
    • Microsoft has real competition, forcing them to develop better, more competitive software. Downside?

      Downside: Microsoft will not try to "compete", per se, but attempt to bully, cajole, and acquire others to do most of their dirty work, while spreading their cantankerous software as a service as well as POS, thereby increasing its complexity and opening up all sorts of new security holes.

      Of course, if you want to call that a downside...

    • Microsoft has real competition, forcing them to develop better, more competitive software. Downside?

      What makes you think software-as-a-service is actually better?

      The key advantages to software as a service is not for the customers, it's for the software companies.

      There are three major reasons Microsoft wants to embrace software as a service so fast:

      1. the vendor stays in control of usage;
      2. there's no possibility to pirate a service;
      3. A product you sell as a license that lasts forever (too many people happ
    • Microsoft has real competition, forcing them to develop better, more competitive software. Downside?

      The Downside. [google.com]

    • Microsoft has never been about services. This is a complete paradigm shift for them. They are saying they are changing but their thinking is remaining the same.

      Of course, given their portfolio, it is possible for them to offer more in the long run but it makes their entire arsenal of code meaningless in the short term; they will have to figure out how to transition their portfolio of code into something that is service oriented and then integrate them together in a typical Microsoft fashion WITHOUT being an
  • by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:07PM (#15445800) Homepage Journal
    We have now found the perfect slashdot headline.
    All the key memes are there.
    We need continue no longer.
  • by ZSpade (812879) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:08PM (#15445819) Homepage
    Ever the follower, never the innovator.
  • by neuroPuff (923273) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:09PM (#15445828)
    Microsoft will gladly embody software as a service. Infact, it might as well be their idea, as they are going to be generating much more revenue by doing this, effectively screwing the customer who has to pay more for the same poorly written MS code, and the customer will be more along the lines 'renting' the code since the eons of service renewals will never relent.

    The 'software as a service' structure could be one of the worst ideas ever. Google offers actuall services, to mix it up, Microsoft on the same terms would be taking the whole idea out of proportion. You don't want to have to, essentially, RENT Microsoft Exchange Server, for example, would you? As compared to Google, the software they do distribute is completly free.
    • ... Renting... Recently a former company where I worked wanted MS Exchange so off I went to get a quote and submit a proposal, etc. After speaking with an MS rep I found myself laughing at him on the phone and he too realizing what he was telling me... According to him I would need to buy Exchange Server and seats for my user. For 40 users total the price was over 4000.00 not a big deal until he mentioned I would only be able to use 5gigs of my 400gig drive. 5gigs? I said... "Yes if you need more space you
  • Um...their new? (Score:2, Redundant)

    by GweeDo (127172)
    So, their new challenger? Would it be more accurate to say their "additional" challenger? They haven't even destroyed open source yet.
  • "If anyone gets in our way... We simply buy them and liquidate them. There are no questions about being on top our war chest poops money like scatamania video." ... After realizing what he had just said Mr. Ballmer ordered journalists to make necessary changes... "If you look at it competitively... the issue really isn't any one company, Google or anyone else," he said. "The question is, how do we get on top of and really drive business model transformations."
  • I'm aware that MS has been trying to sell its software as service instead of as a product (read: pay every time you use instead of paying just once) for ages, but where does that tie into them again trying to jump a train they missed?
    • RE:"In Soviet Russia, the government controls the commerce."

      In Capitalistic society commerce controls the government :p
  • I been reading about software-as-a-service for months now in the trade magazines. So this isn't new. Is Micrsoft admitting that they dropped the ball on this one like the Internet in 1995?
    • I been reading about software-as-a-service for months now in the trade magazines.

      So have I, and I haven't yet seen any software-as-a-service that I'd be willing to pay for.

      Why is everyone chasing this if nobody but the software businesses really want it?
      • Probably because it's the "next big thing" and the vulture capitalists are whipping companies into that the direction. (As one of my college instructors told me, the "next big thing" is usually something that's been around for at least ten years before some notices it (i.e., the Internet is usually a prime example).) Also, subscription fees are a guaranteed revenue producer for the lucky company that dominates the market. Whatever that might be.
  • by blueZ3 (744446) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:13PM (#15445876) Homepage
    from Microsoft or anyone else. I will either use OpenSource software that's free (as in beer) or in cases where I must have some functionality that's only offered in a proprietary package, I'll buy software outright. If the only way to get a particular bit of software is to rent it, I'll go without.

    Lots of the software that I use on a daily basis hasn't been updated in years. This is especially true of expensive packages like FrameMaker (5.5.6), Illustrator (v 10) and other software I purchased for consulting work back in the day. I'm not dropping another $600 on FrameMaker for the minimal feature updates (although I hear 7.0 has multiple levels of undo :-> ) though I needed it enough in 2000 that I dropped the cash. (I don't do warez, so that's not an option)

    I run Office 2000 (it came "free" with a PC) on my one Windows box, and don't see a compelling reason to upgrade. I certainly won't be paying Redmond a monthly rental fee to run an office suite. I allow Google to display ads, but I'm not paying Google any actual cash and I've pretty much trained myself so that I don't even see the ads anymore. Ballmer & company still don't get it.
    • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @01:38PM (#15446729)

      MS sells primarily Windows and Office. As I understand it, that's where their primary revenue comes from.

      Windows 2000 or XP should be good for a long, long time. Remember Ballmer's famous "developers developers developers"? What's implied in that is that the developers want to reach as wide of a target as they can - that's why they're writing for Windows in the first place. The wider the target, the more software the developers sell. In short, to be operable on all flavors of Windows. Just last year I worked on a product and as part of QA we had to verify that it ran on Win95! Versions A and B!

      So IMHO, that pretty much makes Vista optional - and it's going to be for a long, long time. Unless MS figures out some amazing way to get the developers to aim for a smaller locked-in target. I mean, think about how many machines are out there running XP today. How is MS going to tell all of those people to stop it, upgrade, and start paying MS rent?

      And as for Office, if it's on a pay-as-you-go model, no business will stand for that for the same reasons. Again, they're competing against earlier releases of Office. And OpenOffice. Soon as a halfway competent accountant runs the numbers, the pay-as-you-go model will be avoided.

      I'll betcha Vista and pay-as-you-go winds up being Microsoft's next Windows ME. Nobody will touch either with a ten foot pole.

      • And as for Office, if it's on a pay-as-you-go model, no business will stand for that for the same reasons. Again, they're competing against earlier releases of Office. And OpenOffice. Soon as a halfway competent accountant runs the numbers, the pay-as-you-go model will be avoided.

        It depends on how they go about it, and whether or not the company is currently established. For example, if they let you buy office for $500 (just throwing out a number--no idea if it's high or low compared to current) or rent

  • When Microsoft finally falls apart, it will be interesting to piece together the strings. And where the money went.

    Microsoft really needs to focus on it's core product, Windows. Get it out. Get it working well. All funds should be directed towards that.
  • Don't think it will save them this time however. Microsoft faces real structural problems in moving to software as a service, as well as a complete reengineering of the financial model that has given them such deep pockets. One thing is certain, the standard procedure of putting stuff out for free and trying to dominate won't work in the service model, at least not in the long term.
  • by Britz (170620) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:18PM (#15445933)
    Maybe they will throw a couple hundred millions at wine, make their own distro and then offer services around it? I doubt they will do that soon, since that would hurt their bottom line for the moment. But as soon as the other business model promises more profit they could be able to make the switch if they are prepared. As far as I understand they are getting ready.

    So maybe it is not time to dump your MS stock just yet.

    Like with the Xbox they would enter a competitive market. Maybe then they will make better products. At least they should be able to, considering all the brain power they are sucking up every year.
  • MS *and* open source (Score:2, Informative)

    by aoporto (964515)
    Anytime I hear people talk about MS and open source, they speak of it as one vs the other, when in fact there is a lot of good open source written for MS platforms. Two of my favorites (both are BSD licensed) are:

    http://dotnetnuke.com/ [dotnetnuke.com]

    http://listring.com/ [listring.com]
    • Anytime I hear people talk about MS and open source, they speak of it as one vs the other, when in fact there is a lot of good open source written for MS platforms. Two of my favorites (both are BSD licensed) are:

      You forget one thing: This piece of software depends on non-free software, which means you have a vendor-tie-in. I can not use this product without MS software. That means the software is useless in a free-software world. Read RMS' thoughts on java, Free But Shackled - The Java Trap [gnu.org] for more thou

  • Talk about begging the question. Or staggering disingenuity.

    "We've got to make this transition, which our industry is making, from software as a product to software as a service ... If you want to be a leading software company, you've got to be a leading software-as-a-service company."

    Software-as-service (ie charge me every time I use it) instead of Software-as-product (ie I buy it and OWN it forever). Sound vaguely familiar?

    Mr Ballmer, see, it's not that the industry is making this mystical transition.
  • ...is the day they make a vaccuum cleaner. ;P

    OK, all kidding aside I'm pretty sure Microsoft will stay afloat in the software as a service industry. After all it's only web stuff. While the web is a lot more complex than it was at the dawn of HTML/HTTP, it's also very limited. The most that web apps can achieve are consumer level apps that lots of Joe and Jane Averages use. ie. they aren't targetting REAL users yet. They're only going for the majority of users, so... ho hum. More of the same. Where G
  • by bec1948 (845104) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:37PM (#15446121) Homepage

    Our personal thoughts about Microsoft, Pro or Con, are not that relevant in the larger scheme of things. If we look at Microsoft's total suite of products as a fairly well integrated (and improving) stack of platforms, tools and user interfaces for collaborative work, then the move to Software as a Service is both logical and perhaps ultimately the way everyone will go.

    There are some many possible threads here that it's not possible to give a coherent discussion when I'm here at work, but here are some of the ideas that come to mind as an advantage of the concept from a somewhat Microsoft centric perspective:

    • Use the same applications on all devices (PCs, Macs, Phones, Game consoles, TVs, IPods, Things that haven't been invented yet)
    • For corporations only pay for software that's actually used, non a mass volume license that often includes wasted licenses.
    • Access to work from anywhere - Writerly and some of the competitors already offer a form of this
    • Smooth integration of multiple data types from almost anywhere into a document. Consider how complex linking content can be when you're doing it relative to your computer and its local (or LAN) storage. Now consider those links in a UDDI/XML/HTML Web

    Shortness of time limits clarity on these ideas. Resolving them in our discussions here can be fun, but I think Microsoft should pay us for the privlege. Don't you?

    These are all areas where Microsoft can bring a very rich user experience that will drive the competitors to greatly improve their offerings. It will also force Microsoft to be more open and accessible to other vendor's products, solutions and open standards. Resolving all the issues involved will take a long time. I've been involved with these discussions for over a dozen years now. I expect it will take another dozen for these things to work as well as we imagine them to.

    There's another point that's been made by others too. Moving from a license per box to a license per use and even mostly free stuff business model will be painful. Look at Novell. One of their biggest revenue problems is that the move to FOSS has occurred more quickly than they expected driving revenues down faster than they'd planned and could adjust for.

    Microsoft will feel similar pain, but is learning from all the pioneers how not to get shot in the back. It is what they are best at

  • by ewhac (5844) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:37PM (#15446124) Homepage Journal
    Fine, Microsoft, go right ahead. Transition your business to, "software as a service." And when you get there, you'll realize there's no "there" there, and will implode to a business of relative insignificance.

    A hammer is not a "service." A paintbrush is not a "service." A car is not a "service." They are tools. And, unless people use them very infrequently, people don't rent their tools. They buy them so that they may own them. Software follows this analogy to a very high degree. Software is a tool and, as such, the market for "rented" tools is way way smaller than the pundits are predicting. This will become even more true as Open Source solutions continue to make inroads and force aside overpriced proprietary solutions that are buggier and offer almost no extra compelling functionality.

    Microsoft does know how to Pwnz0r and expand existing markets but, so far, they have largely failed to create new ones. Software-as-a-service is a dead end, especially for a company the size of Microsoft.

    Schwab

    • Microsoft's vision of the future should be as far ranging as the ideas of the founder. This business plan should be as perceptive as Bill was about the future in The Road Ahead... and I am sure it will be..
  • It seems microsoft has been pushing this for the last couple years.

    A monthly subscription software as a service model won't work that well, especially if microsoft is dumb enough to actually charge their monthly(or yearly, whatever) fee for windows itself. I don't think microsft would ever be that stupid but, things can change. Either way I don't think it would fly well with consumers who already pay an arm and a leg for M$ Software(which is mostly crap anyway) to pay for it again and again. Anybody who
    • by jefu (53450)
      But they won't charge $50/month. They'll charge $10/month plus a startup cost (which many users won't see, just as they don't see the fees charged when they buy MS Windows with a new computer - and MS has too much of a good thing going there to ever let go of this income). Clearly, over the lifetime of the machine, this will add up to far more than anyone is paying now, but people will think something like "Only $10, thats nothing." and pay without a problem.

      It will look all the less as MS will then be

  • Figures,

    Just when Windows becomes bearably funtional and stable, and the Office suite is mature enough that the average user could run WinXP + Office XP for 10 years without having any reason to upgrade, then they decide that "software-as-a-product" is dead, time to make you start paying monthly for software-as-a-service.

    I'm surprised the furniture industry hasn't gotten in on this. Why do they sell chairs, tables, and sofas that last upwards of 10 - 20 years. Clearly the industry should get out of the "fur
  • by i am kman (972584) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:48PM (#15446236)
    What's with all the rants about renting software. That's hardly the point of the article or service-based software.

    Service based software has many revenue streams and powerful advantages. First, it'd be great to have a virtual desktop that followed me whereever I logged into. Not only do my files follow, but I can login to a kiosk and actually edit my Powerpoint before a presentation (without the danger of locally saving it). This is a great model (with enough bandwidth) that facilitates collaboration and mobility.

    Second, many companies are already paying through the nose for a similar model. We pay hundreds of dollars/year/user for PC service support with software. Many folks only occassionally use the MS apps, but we have to buy licenses for each PC. It would be FAR cheaper if we could centrally host the applications and pay by usage. And this would also enable us to automatically backup files and allow users to access programs from home. Users often lose data when their desktop crashes. No more with service-based software!

    Third, look at the Turbo-Tax model. It's $70 for the desktop version (PLUS electronic filing fees) and $20 online with FREE electronic filing. The service based model would be similar. Pay $500 for MS Office or $40/year to use/access the same thing. It's likely to be MUCH cheaper.

    Fourth, they'll also license it to folks like Google who will then provide it to us for free (or VERY cheaply as a premier member) as a service and part of their total desktop management.

    Just wanted to point out that there's many good things about this. Dismissing anything MS does simply because it's MS totally misses the point. Sure, it could (and might) suck, but it could also be a great thing.
    • I agree. The kneejerk reaction to software as a service is striking from Slashdot members, since typically the slashdot mentality is pro-availability as opposed to pro-(intellectual, private property) ownership. I think the service model benefits users as well as developers. It provides developers with a steady, reliable \ revenueand the users only have to be subscribed when they need to use the software.

      Let's examine the implications of the two models for the consumer:

      1) You spend several hundred dollars
      • And let us look at the other model you so willingly to miss. I type up my mother's will on great software for $20/M. Why? Because - Insert 20 year old girl voice - "Everything is typed up in Word - it has been that way for ^ages^!" Do I pay that in perpetuity to keep that document upgraded? Or do I find out years from now the rules (and fees) have changed? That is a *person's* POV - and as a company it is scarier yet. All your data, all your corespondence, all your spreadsheets, visio digrams, publisher ha

        • Yeah, see, I should have mentioned the whole "age of the internet" thing in greater detail. See, we're in the age of the internet, where if subscriptions for software can be paid for and delivered online then missing a payment isn't as big of a risk or a problem, since you can renew instantly. In fact the internet is what enables the service model to exist, since subscriptions can be bought/renewed online and the software can be very quickly delivered by download for relatively low cost per unit. $1400 for
          • oh, I dunno, several times in my youth I had to back pay on auto insurance, in one case 4 months worth. The other part about the insurance analogy is that this would be way to tempting to tier. notepad:$5/M, wordpad:$6.50, basic Word:$8, Word:$10, WordPro $15. I can see it for some things - heck tax software is essentially already there, they should be a subscription. But for basic stuff, blech. I agree with the ownership thing though. More than half the l33t pirates (music, movies, software, etc) I know ge
  • move from buyinmg software to renting software?

    I believe the article is a bit intentionally mis-leading....
  • "Hotbot dot yahoo!"
  • I tend to think of software-as-a-service not just as HTML/Javascript/XML delivered over the Web, but also as packages downloaded from a distro repository. Isn't the open source software repository model a software-as-a-service model, too?
  • The new services model is not software-as-a-service, like MS thinks it is. The service is not the software itself. A service can be implemented as software. A service can also be implemented as human technicians. But the price of software by itself, as a separate entity, is fast approaching $0. Hence, in the open source model, you build services around software -- be they software-driven services like the Red Hat Network, or human-driven services like on-call support people.

    But renting software? That'

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